15 minutes of fame

Living in Iowa, it’s pretty easy to feel a galaxy away from the every day “goings on” of Hollywood. I have no idea what Joan and Melissa Rivers are doing this morning—nor do my Hollywood friends know that there is a deer in my backyard as I write this.

So, when Hollywood comes to Iowa, it’s kind of a big deal. Extreme Makeover Home Edition is working on a build just north of Cedar Rapids in a small town called West Union. Us hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Iowans are excited about changing the living conditions for the Gibb’s family. Doing good is always a good thing.

I have been working with Extreme Makeover Home Edition Producers and Designers, and have been given the task of creating artwork for various parts of the new home.

I can’t disclose too much about our role just yet….more on that to come. But, we’re excited to be involved on the project, and very happy to help this wonderful family.

KRNA 94.1 Iowanarock


A number of years ago we designed everything for legendary classic rock station 94.1 KRNA. Founded by a couple of University of Iowa students, Rob Norton and Eliot Keller. KRNA grew from grassroots to powerhouse. Hell, they played a lot of Grass Roots.

Rob and Eliot sold off their lifelong project in 1998. Prior to doing so, we kicked off a new look for KRNA, with a new logo and positioning line. In a sea of tired rock station taglines, we wanted to create something fresh, maybe even a bit odd, but definitely regional.

The result? KRNA. 94.1 IOWANAROCK.


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G. Fine Living in the Lake Geneva Style

Our involvement with quarterly magazine, The Brass Bell, caught the attention of a Boca Raton, Florida-based client interested in establishing an upscale lifestyle magazine for the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area. This was a great opportunity—the chance to establish a vertical, niche publication for a legendary tourist destination.

For those not familiar with Lake Geneva, this small community on a lake is nestled just north of Chicago, and just west of Milwaukee in southeastern Wisconsin. The area has more interesting history than any small Wisconsin town should have—the playground of the Schwinn’s, the Maytag’s, the Wrigley’s, and yes, Guns ‘N Roses lead singer Axl Rose. Hugh Heffner even established one of his legendary Playboy Clubs in Lake Geneva.

The first issue of G is the result of many hours of interviews, sweat, and mental gymnastics. It’s not the easiest task assembling a magazine from vapor, but given G’s overwhelming debut, I think we hit the mark.

G Magazine Masthead Script

Well Done

I ran across this film not too long ago. I was somewhat skeptical at first, as I have seen a bunch of these “tug at the heartstrings” sort of efforts that fall flat. I feel differently about this one. The script is very good. I think the voice guy, Peter Coyote nailed it. Overall a very well done short film. Kudos to all involved with this project.

Nelson Boatworks
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Nelson Boatworks

In the prior post, I mentioned a client of ours, Nelson Boatworks. Dan Nelson is a boat builder and restorer in northern Minnesota who has a reputation for creating concours-winnning, museum-grade boat restorations.

This ad has a very quiet look about it. But the message is strong, and strategically on target.


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Labor of love

I love boating. It is a lifelong passion having spent many summers on northern Lake Michigan. I am slowly turning this passion for boating and the marine industry into business and have had the pleasure of working with Chris-Craft, a Sarasota, boat builder—one of the oldest and most prestigious names in pleasure boating. This collaboration has lead to more marine client relationships, such as the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum, Nelson Boatworks, and Hagerty Insurance.

The Brass Bell, is an upscale, niche quarterly, targeted at antique and classic boating enthusiasts. In just a couple of years we have taken this publication from a commodity-grade 32-page magazine to a 96-page work of art.

The Brass Bell is printed on recycled stock, using soy-based inks and minimal aqueous coating. The issues are perfect bound, and are mailed to all 50 U.S. states, and over 30 countries worldwide.

The Brass Bell has a decidedly vintage look, courtesy of custom-drawn typefonts, dingbats, borders and patterns. Masthead typography features handcrafted letterforms based on actual deco typography samples.


The Brass Bell is a perfect example of electronic design workflow. There is no wasted paper or toner printing process used on the design of the issues. Workflow is PDF based—low res PDFs for commenting and approvals, high res PDFs for final output. The magazine is typically preflighted, ripped, soft-proofed, approved, and on press within 24 hours of forwarding artwork to the printer.

Designing a high-end niche quarterly can get a bit “grindy” at times. At the same time, it is very gratifying to see design play a key role in actually advancing the niche.

You’ll see a lot more of The Brass Bell in days ahead.

Winter wonders

About a week ago, I was asked to teach an undergraduate, advanced graphic design class, at nearby Mount Mercy University. I have never formally taught anyone anything. But, I do enjoy teaching. It seems like a natural extension of what I do as a communicator. I have one full class period under my belt. Nobody told me to leave—good start, I guess.

Today, we had our first snow day, resulting in a late 10:00 am start to a class that ends at 10:20. As winter continues to create challenges, it is also a great time to shoot a few images.



I am no meteorologist, otherwise I would have a scientific reason why we got hairy ice a couple of weeks ago. It is certainly one of the more bizarre works of nature this season.

The shots below are interesting to me. I like the low depth of field and the intense highlights on the ice.



New Day

Whew, what a day

February 8, 2010—a day to remember.

First, our official entry into the web universe. Now, three posts later, we’re building confidence. We have a lot to say. Hang with us while we sort it all out. For now, here’s where you can find us.


First things first

Basler Design Group is a visual design and marketing resource based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We’re a technically savvy design studio, founded in 1990. In fact our roots go back long before that.


We got our start in this business long before computers. Remember 1983? There was no raster data. Just a darn fine roll of C-41, or a rich, silvery Portriga print. There were no vector paths—just amberlith, a blade, and good handskills. It was true in 1983 and it’s true today—ideas and results are what make us tick.

A new day

We have taken our share of lumps since…oh, about 1993…given our minimalist presence on the web. Well, I am happy to say, 2010 brings new hope. Basler Design Group will embrace the web, just like we have for our other clients.

In our own defense, we are quite good at this web thing. We have done some pretty amazing things for many of our clients—just not for ourselves. Oops, I am making excuses again.

The Cobbler’s Children Always Go Barefoot.